I received your letter yesterday with a mixture of relief that, at least when you wrote it, you were physically okay, and trepidation over what the contents could be. I have so many thoughts running through my head, and so many conflicting emotions when it comes to you to sort out, I have no idea where to start this letter. Should I even start this letter weighs heavy on my mind too, because no matter how much I love you (and I do love you in a way you are not able to love me), you are capable only of offering me a future filled with more pain and suffering, while you remain seemingly aloof from any sense of suffering for anyone other than yourself.
So I am just going to jump right into this letter by responding to yours, point by point. This thing between us is chaos; there is no real way to organize it, no sane way to respond to it, no easy way to work it out. So we will go with your attempt to organize our chaos with more chaos, and see where it leaves us, yet again.
I am surprised the depth and swiftness of my anger should surprise you so. Who better than you should understand seemingly mysterious, but usually explainable, fits of deep and swift rage? I have every reason to feel rage at you. The ability to forgive does not erase the ability to feel rage. I am not a saint. I am human after all: very, very human.
The remainder of your letter alone is evidence enough why I am entitled to my sporadic fits of mild rage compared to some of the things you’ve done in a rage: murder, lawsuits, the waging of psychological warfare on the only real ally you’ve ever had, past, present, and future.
You are right, though. It is not Satanism that is the villain. I’ll admit the arrogant and narcissist part of me (we all have one if we’ve grown up in our family) was briefly and mildly offended you accused me of being so ignorant of what Satanism is purportedly all about: that you would forget that the only reason you are so intelligent is because genetically you have two intelligent and unconventional parents; that you would forget the only reason you are committed to being educated past the surface of what is generally accepted is because you have exactly one parent who taught you to be that way, by example.
Don’t you remember there was a time in my life I thought about moving us to Seattle so we could get away from Mama and I could pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Religious Studies? This was before Ella, after Brendan, when it was still just you and me trying to muddle our way through growing up. I decided it was more important you have family than I have independence and a chance to figure out who I really wanted to be, out from under my mother’s shadow and influence. I wonder how different our lives would be had we gone?
Too late to second guess now. What’s done is done. Point is…I am not ignorant of Satanism.
I have always supported your mental explorations Paris. You know this. One of the very distinct memories I have of you right before you killed Ella is you showing me your mind map in the garage. Becca was there. Too make sure I wasn’t embellishing the past, I asked her once if she remembered the conversation we had that night. She did.
We both agreed, in hindsight (which is always so much clearer), that your words were strange, different from the Paris I usually talked to. We both remember me looking at you for a long moment after you stopped talking, not exactly sure what to make of the glimmer of strangeness I felt coming from you. We both remember me putting my arms around you, hugging you to me, and saying, “You have a strange mind, my son. And that is one of the reasons I love you so.” Or something very close to that.
No matter the exact wording of what I said, at that moment, I knew you were different, that your years of teen angst and suffering were upon you, that I had to do my best to help you find yourself at the end of it all. I was right, sort of. I just didn’t know you were dangerous. And that I would end up constantly juggling just how much suffering I am willing to allow you.
I digress. That is the beauty of just letting your mind go and writing, ironically, whatever comes to whatever mind is left when you let it go.
Satanism is not the villain. I know it is not all it is claimed to be in the media and popular culture. I also know it is a philosophy that feeds your wolf, not your angel. And the reason it makes me so mad it because it is yet another of many examples you’ve given me in the last three to four months, and in your letter, that you are more inclined to feed your wolf than your angel as time passes for you behind those walls.
It is hard to be the sole bearer of hope that my love can somehow redeem you when you are hell bent on caving in to the inner nature only you know more about than me.
It seems we both assume or believe your nature is not capable of wanting to be redeemed. It seems we both assume or believe that, because of your genetic nature and the circumstances in which you live, you have little hope of doing anything but cultivating your dark side if you mean to survive.
Which leaves me in a very tough place. I accept you as you are. I love you as you are. Some days it is very hard to like you as you are. Lately a lot of days are like that. But whether or not I like you has never played a part in whether or not I love you, or how to be with you. What I have trouble with is how does that translate into having you in my every day life, so to speak anyway.
You are not, in my opinion, a sack of shit. Selfish. Yes. Argue all you want with the diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder, there is no denying you do possess the majority of the traits needed for a diagnosis of narcissist personality disorder.
So, not a sack of shit. No. Selfish. Yes.
You also used the adjective worthless to describe yourself. I do not agree with that assessment either. I never have. I never will. We are all worth something. I believe it is up to us to decide what that worth will prove to be. You seem to be the only one buying into the belief you are worthless. Well, to be fair, you and the majority of TDCJ. (Couldn’t’ resist the dig and attempt at levity.) Only you give power to the demon that makes you feel worthless. I know because I suffer from the same problem.
Your three points about why you care whether or not you speak to me again are not surprising. Nor is the order of importance you placed them in. They do hurt, but I’ve learned to take you in stride.
I accept who you are better than you accept who you are. I’ve known, and been honest with you longer than you’ve ever attempted to be honest with me (which is, I believe, almost impossible for you because you are a pathological liar), that the main reason you keep me around is for what you think you can milk me to do for you because I love you. What you seem to forget is that I told you at your transfer hearing that you only have as much power over me as I choose to give you because I love you.
What I am learning is that I can love you and keep my promises (to love you no matter what, to be the best mom I can be, not to abandon you while incarcerated) without actually having to have you in my life, physically; without actually giving you any power over me. After all, real love has nothing to do with power or it’s differentials.
What I am learning, what you taught me by taking Ella from me, by taking you from me with all your games and manipulations, by taking any future semblance of a peaceful or “normal” life from me, and now by virtue of his birth into this insanity your brother, is that someone, anyone, no one, has to be in my life for me to know I love them, to know I have done my best to do “right” by them in spite of all the “wrong” that has been perpetuated by all.
I have done more right by you than many seem to think you deserve. I have always done more right by you than wrong.*
I had to stop writing because I did not know where I wanted to go next in this letter. I needed more time to decide how to proceed with you both in word and action.
I received a call Monday from the grandmother of a friend of yours that you were escorted, in cuffs, out of your past living arrangement and sent to wherever it is your sent to await your disciplinary hearing. I’ve made all the necessary phone calls to the Warden’s office, and called to check on your status & the possible consequences you face. It is known you are being looked after.
I don’t think your current issues have any effect, or affect, on what I feel is a decision that needs to be made about how to deal with you and your personality disorders for the time being.
As your mother, or I should say that because I am the type of mother I am, of course my first instinct is to protect you at all costs, even when it is from yourself. The phone calls should suffice to do that for now.
A new element has been added to how I make decisions about you now. I am not just your mother. I am the only real friend you have. I know I am not the only person who loves you, who can help you, who can be used by you. We both know I have more compelling reasons than any of them to be by your side long term.
Except for one thing. I doubt you are so honest with all the others the degree of parasitic intention you have in regards to them.
What kind of friend…fuck that…what kind of human being would I be if I consciously continue in a “daily” relationship with a boy/man who killed my daughter in such a gruesome manner, has fucked with my head and heart to such a degree the last seven years that I am essentially a hermit who has issues connecting with people other than my children and people who seek me out for help and healing, and who has made abundantly clear that although what he thinks he feels for me is love is really only a sense of possession and ownership of an object to do with what he pleases?
I truly do not know what to do with you, Paris. You are my son, my first born that I love to the moon and back. I have walked through the hell you created with you for seven years. You have tried to destroy me, torture me emotionally, and are constantly trying to manipulate me. There is no peace with you. There is no peace without you.
And now you tell me that you keep me around to get what you can out of me.
Love, real love, is a two-way street, kiddo. Real love is kindness, letting go of ego when called for, and thinking of ways you can give to another, not take from them. Real love is about creation.
So tell me, my firstborn who is loved to the moon and back, why should I stay in your immediate life when your primary purpose for keeping me in it is to use me?
To the moon and back,
* I’m tired of using the quotes. I know you are smart enough to know I use quotes because words like right and wrong are so ambiguous in most cases. Not in all. What you did to Ella was wrong. No quotes. So much of what you’ve done to me is wrong. No quotes. How to deal with you the right way. So fucking ambiguous.